Try these basic chess principles to help you become a better player

These and many more tips can be found in my best-selling chess instructional book “A World Champion’s Guide to Chess.” It is aimed for absolute beginners and novice players.

Try these basic chess principles to help you become a better player

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here is the question of the week: What are some of the most important things novice/ scholastic chess players need to know about chess?

Chess is a very easy game to learn, but harder to master. Here are some very important principles in chess that will help you become a better player.

Control the center

The center of the board includes the squares e4, d4, e5, and d5. When you start a game, place your pawns in the center to occupy and control as many of these squares as you can. Location, location, location.

Develop your pieces as soon as possible

Get your knights and bishops out right away. This should be done before you try to checkmate your opponent, some time in the first 6 or 7 moves if possible.

Castle as soon as possible

The first chance you have, castle immediately to keep your king safe. Remember: you can’t win if your king is not safe and you get checkmated first. So, don’t forget to castle! Then after you castle, connect your rooks by developing your queen.

Keep your pieces protected

Don’t leave your pieces hanging without protection. Each and every piece you have is very valuable, so don’t forget to protect them. Protecting means if your opponent can take your piece, then you can take your opponent’s piece.

Have lots of fun. Win with grace. Lose with dignity.

That is my motto in chess. The most important thing in chess should be to have fun, whether you win or lose. When you win, be a good sport. When you lose, be an even better sport. Shake hands and congratulate your opponent. This will go a long way in making good friends.

Besides the five valuable principles above, there are others that you should try to remember. Chess is a game with logic, strategies, planning, and tactics. Keep the following principles in mind as you play.

• Every move should have a purpose.

• What is the idea behind your opponent’s move?

• Always think before you move. There is no take back in chess. So make your decision carefully.

• Learn to make plans. Planning is one of the most important elements of the game of chess.

• Analyze your games and learn from your mistakes. Every player, from beginner to world champion, makes mistakes. It is very important to go over your games to find mistakes and learn from them.

• Pace yourself wisely.

There are many different time controls in chess. Use your allotted time wisely. If you have 30, 60, or 90 minutes to play your game, use your time to find the best plans and moves. Don’t rush just because your opponents play fast.

These and many more tips can be found in my best-selling chess instructional book “A World Champion’s Guide to Chess.” It is aimed for absolute beginners and novice players. It is also perfect for parents and teachers to introduce chess to young players.

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